TALKEETNA — Talkeetna celebrated the 243rd birthday of the United States of America with a parade on Thursday afternoon, then they did it again.
The annual Fourth of July Parade strolled down Main Street with hundreds of people, classic and unique cars, candy for kids and a whole lot of red, white, and blue.
“I’m celebrating our country’s birthday and it’s wonderful!” said Patty Harper.
The parade marched past Nagley’s store, the Fairview Inn and all the way down Main Street in Talkeetna on a hot summer day despite the wildfire burning miles away.
After passing out candy, flags, necklaces and waving to those who came to watch the parade, the whole line of floats, cars, kids and ATV’s turned around and paraded back down Main a second time. Hundreds of locals, tourists, and seasonal workers that make up the mosaic of Talkeetna celebrated our nation’s birthday with it’s own unique style.
It’s a small community and it basically is a 100-day community because everybody works 100 days in summer,” said Harry Morrison. “They decided to have the 4th of July parade and everybody gets involved in it.”
The Montana Creek Fire that started just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday had put Talkeetna residents on alert to evacuate. The fire grew only a few acres overnight, calming the nerves of many residents about the possibility of the fire spreading.
“It says we are here,” said Corinne Foster. “We would do the fire if we had to and now we’re back here to show our support here.”
Foster said her favorite part of the 4th of July is hearing the National Anthem. Parade Marshall Pam Rannals was happy to be conducting the very unorthodox Talkeetna celebration.
“It’s very unorganized. Nobody knows what they’re doing,” Rannals joked.
Rannals was cautious about the mix of motorized vehicles and children scurrying to pick up candy, and had suggested to those handing out candy in the parade that they do not throw it to avoid such an incident. Rannals stopped and hollered aloud to the line of cars and people behind her after the parade had gone down Main street once to turn around and do it all over again.
“All the excitement of Talkeetna makes it great. You can’t get this anywhere else,” said Rannals.
Among those riding ATV’s during the parade was John Craig, who served in the Navy in the South Pacific and first came to Talkeetna in 1974. Craig was happy for the parade to be over so that he could beat the heat at one of his favorite local watering holes in town.
“We like to party. This is a party town if I’ve ever seen one, you know. In a two-block radius we’ve got about six different bars to go to, we’ve got over 100 beers on tap,” Craig said.
Craig enjoys the train whistling through town on it’s trips in and out on the railroad, and was anxious to watch the moose auction in the park later in the afternoon.
“It doesn’t get any better than this on an afternoon in Talkeetna. It’s a hot day, we’re up in the 80s right now and I’m dying of thirst so I’ve got to get something to wet my tongue here shortly,” Craig said.
Craig headed to the VFW as part of his annual 4th of July celebration, and said it was important to celebrate our freedom on our country’s birthday.